Pathway to Peace through the Digital Divide


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Presentation for Northeastern University Fall 2013 Senior Capstone

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Pathway to Peace through the Digital Divide

  1. 1. Pathway to Peace through the Digital Divide Laura Mueller-Soppart Capstone Fall 2013
  2. 2. Economic Stability & Peace John Maynard Keynes, Economic Consequences of Peace, 1920
  3. 3. What is the Digital Divide? gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard both to their opportunities to access information and communication technologies (ICTs) and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities
  4. 4. Why the Internet Matters • 3.4% of GDP in top 70% global economy stimulated by Internet activity • 2.9% of global GDP • $1.7 trillion economic contribution • If the Internet were a sector it would outweigh agriculture and utilities • Internet contribution to GDP growth has been an average 21% in mature countries over the past 5 years • SMEs with high web index have experienced 2.1x growth over the last 3 years • Less than 1/3 of surveyed SMEs have high web index
  5. 5. Bridging the Digital Divide Internet maturity correlates with a rising standard of living
  6. 6. Economic Impact of Electrification
  7. 7. Economic Impact of Electrification
  8. 8. Importance of Standardization • Universal standards allow the electric grid to act as one machine • Increases economies of scale • Keeps prices low • Allows quicker global adoption • International and national associations created • Negotiate standards • Share patents • Learn best practices • Engage with government agencies • Standardization stops at regulating consumption
  9. 9. Energy Poverty ≠ Peace Only ½ of primary students in Abu Hasheem, a small south-eastern state in Sudan, received passing grades on their exams in 2007. That number increased to 100 percent after the Sudan Multi Donor Fund-National sponsored a project to provide solar power to the community
  10. 10. Demand for Internet In Sri Lanka, 76.6 percent of the population has electricity access; yet, there are 81 active mobile phones per 100 people
  11. 11. Demand for Internet
  12. 12. Risks of Unmet Demand • Unmet economic potential • 10% broadband penetration increase add 0.9 to 1.5 percentage points to per capita GDP growth • Education & Health gap continues to grow • Online education • Disease outbreak maps • Information is powerful • Amount of data produced in one day in 2013 is greater than all data stored before 2012 • Economic decisions are based on information on a micro and macro level
  13. 13. Abundance  Peace
  14. 14. Literature Review • John Maynard Keynes, Economic Consequences of Peace, 1920 • Nicholas Carr, The Big Switch, 2008 • Future Authors of the early 1900s • Vinton Cerf, Internet Freedom Declaration • OECD, Understanding the Digital Divide, 2001 • McKinsey Global Institute, Why the Internet Matters, 2011 • Google, Digital Summit, 2013
  15. 15. Conclusions • The digital divide is not sustainable because of the importance of the Internet in modern society • Electrification efforts are continuously unhinged, the world operates on the assumption that energy will always be available • Information power will eclipse in importance, and all deserve to assume that information will always be available • As witnesses with electricity, economies of scale and standardization are key lowering pricing and expanding networks • Next steps are to develop policy recommendations that also analyze the other components of peace and the Internet